Welcome back to We Wonder: Lent. Long ago, Jesus said to his friends, "Come: follow me." Now that we are in the second full week of Lent, we will keep following Jesus all the way through the gospel of Mark. Today we are beginning Mark chapter 5. Jesus and his friends have crossed the Sea of Galilee, and they have come to a place where the people are not Jewish. As they get out of the boat, they are met by someone who badly needs Jesus to help.
Mark 5:1-20 (NIRV)
If I'm honest, this story can be kind of scary. I feel so sad for the man who is being controlled by strong powers that want to hurt him, and also a little frightened when I imagine him living in the tombs, breaking off chains, and crying out by himself. Can I remember, as we wonder about it, that Jesus came to help this man, and everyone like him? Can I ask God to remind me that on the cross, Jesus has defeated these strong powers that want to hurt people?
I wonder if I can imagine myself with Jesus's friends, on the boat as we pull it up to the shore. Last night, we were caught in a storm and Jesus spoke strong words to calm it. I wonder how I would feel this morning, watching this strange man come down from the tombs to meet Jesus?
Can I pay attention to the way this man, and the evil powers that are controlling him, speak to Jesus? These powers are strong enough to break chains and make this man hurt himself: I wonder why, when they meet Jesus, they beg, and plead, and seem afraid?
Can I imagine being someone who lived nearby? Maybe I have been afraid of the strange man who lives in the tombs. I wonder what it was like to come down to the seashore and see him: calm, dressed, his hair combed, sitting quietly and talking with Jesus? I wonder what I would have said when I saw him?
The area where this story happens is a place where non-Jewish people, or Gentiles, lived. We can tell because they were raising pigs. I wonder why Jesus left his home area to come and announce God's good news here? And I wonder why the people asked him to leave?
The man who Jesus healed wants to come with him, but do you remember what Jesus said? "Go to your own people, and tell them what God has done for you." I wonder if this man was the very first person to go and tell Gentiles about Jesus? And I wonder what his friends and family said when he came home to them with his good news?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments from this story that I want to ask God about right now?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments from this story that I want to take with me and hold close?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you that we have a book filled with your words and deeds. Give us the wisdom and understanding that comes from your Holy Spirit, so that we can know you better and follow you all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
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